Bar and Bat Mitzvah

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1 Bar and Bat Mitzvah 5777/

2 Content Contacts... 3 Bar/Bat Mitzvah an Introduction... 4 Bar/Bat Mitzvah at NPLS The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme Family Study Individual Tuition... 7 Additional Notes... 7 General Expectations... 7 What the Bar/Bat Mitzvah students need to learn... 8 What is desirable for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to learn... 8 The Shabbat of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah... 8 Tallit and Kippah... 9 Students with special educational needs... 9 Rehearsals... 9 Mitzvot during the service... 9 Music during the service... 9 Filming & Photography Kiddush Charges Hall Hire Bar/Bat Mitzvah Timeline

3 Contacts Rabbis Rabbi Aaron Goldstein: (NPLS Office), (mobile), Rabbi Lea Mühlstein: (NPLS Office), (mobile), Rabbinic Coordinator Sue Wayne: (NPLS Office), Education and Rabbinic Administrator Sukhi Latter: (NPLS Office), Security Julian Rose: (home) Council member responsible for Cheder: Sarah Twaites: (NPLS office), In line with government guidelines, NPLS carries out police checks (known as DBS checks) on all personnel working with children and young people at NPLS who are over the age of 16 at the beginning of the Cheder year. In the event of DBS checks being incomplete, for example when appointing new members of staff at short notice, NPLS will ensure that a fully DBS-checked member of staff is available to accompany the new teacher. Any questions concerning DBS checks should be addressed to Suzanne Haffner A copy of NPLS Safeguarding Children policy is available to parents on application to Rabbi Lea. Any concerns over safeguarding should be raised in the first instance with Rabbi Lea (above) or with Suzanne Haffner (Deputy Safeguarding Co-ordinator) If those concerns are not resolved then they should be raised with the Chair of the Synagogue. If concerns involve the conduct of Rabbi Lea and/or Suzanne Haffner they should be raised with the Chair. 3

4 Bar/Bat Mitzvah an Introduction Traditionally, becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah simply meant that a child became responsible for keeping the same commandments (mitzvot) as any Jewish adult. For boys, this was on their thirteenth Hebrew birthday, and for girls, it was on their twelfth. There was no ceremony/party and the only noticeable change were the mitzvot now observed, e.g. fasting on Yom Kippur. From about the Middle Ages, boys started to mark this transition from minor to adult Jewish status by being called up to read from the Torah for the first time. Since then, the entire ceremony and process has radically evolved. What once started out as a marking of a moment in time has become one of the most essential and celebrated Jewish lifecycle events. It may be hard to believe, but the celebrations, which we now associate with a Bar Mitzvah, only began in the early 20th century with the creation of an enhanced Bar Mitzvah ceremony by the American Conservative rabbinate. The founders of Liberal Judaism originally rejected the concept of Bar Mitzvah. They considered 13 too young for adult responsibilities, and it was a rite of passage only for boys. Group graduation from religion school at 16 instead was considered the desideratum, and religion school curricula were geared to this end. In most congregations the confirmation ceremony (now known as Kabbalat Torah) was, and it still is at NPLS, the highlight of the year. From the 1960s onwards, Liberal congregations began to restore the practice, subject to various safeguards. These included a minimum period of instruction and a guarantee of continuing to confirmation. Boys and girls alike were encouraged to have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in line with Liberal Judaism s affirmation of the equal status of boys and girls in religious education. Bar/Bat Mitzvah offers a spiritual, communal and celebratory rite-ofpassage for teenagers. The essence of Bar/Bat Mitzvah remains the same - marking a transition from Jewish childhood towards Jewish adulthood. Yet becoming a 21st Century Jewish teenager also involves taking some responsibility for one s own Judaism. At NPLS we place a strong emphasis on navigating this journey with the support of a Jewish peer group. Together, our fledgling teenagers enjoy celebrating the transition that each of them makes. Accordingly, students are expected to commit to completing the BM programme, even if their BM actually occurs earlier than some of their friends. We further hope that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah does not mark the end of Jewish education and do expect the teenagers to join our exciting Kabbalat Torah Programme. 4

5 Bar/Bat Mitzvah at NPLS 1. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Programme The BM programme consists of two major components: a course in Jewish studies accompanied by a Hebrew course. The Jewish Studies course consists of 12 modules taught over 6 terms, i.e. two academic years. BM1 first year of programme Jewish Living I (How to live a Jewish life) Term 1 Sacred Traditions I (The Jewish life-cycle) Jewish Spirituality I (Why we pray and how we pray) Term 2 Jewish History I (Our ancient past) My Judaism I (Being Jewish) Term 3 Jewish World I (Jewish life outside the UK) BM2 second year of programme Sacred Traditions II (The Jewish year) Term 1 Jewish Living II (Social responsibility) Term 2 My Judaism II (Finding my own Jewish identity) Jewish Spirituality II (Hundred blessings a day) Jewish History II (The 19 th and 20 th century) Term 3 Jewish World II (Israel) 5

6 2. Family Study Our Family Study programme provides opportunities for parents to explore and develop with their children the meaning of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and to gain an understanding of the ritual practices and ethical principles that their Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is founded upon. These sessions are led by our Rabbis. This engagement will heighten the joy of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service and provide a wonderful forum to develop relationships with your Rabbis that we hope will be a source of support throughout the family's lives. BM1 first year of programme Once a term on Saturday morning from 9:45 to 10:45 am; on those days, BM1 families are expected to attend the Saturday morning service together with their children. Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 The meaning of a Bar and Bat Mitzvah in Liberal Judaism How to interpret a Jewish text using commentaries Jewish History where do we come from? BM2 second year of programme In the first two terms, once a month on Saturday morning from 9:45 to 10:45 am; on those days, BM2 families are expected to attend the Saturday morning service together with their children. Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5 Session 6 The beginning of the journey Lech Lecha Being comfortable with the Torah and interpreting our Torah portions Feeling at home with the Synagogue Service and the liturgy Liberal Judaism We will look at the Affirmations of Liberal Judaism and consider what makes us a Liberal Jew and how God fits in Making our own Liberal Jewish Choices We will focus on passages from Pirkei Avot as a foundation for identifying the principles by which we want to live and how they might affect our actions in different scenarios Am Yisrael our relationship as part of a global community and with the State of Israel Your Choice! 6

7 3. Individual Tuition While the Bar/Bat Mitzvah programme will provide Hebrew classes for the entire year group, it will be necessary to arrange individual tuition to help your child prepare their Torah portion, Haftarah and D var Torah. We recommend the following tutors: Ruth Colin: Dalia Manches: Jan Roseman: It is up to you to make arrangements with the tutor. If you have another tutor in mind, please talk to the rabbis before making a commitment as we want to ensure that all tutors understand our expectations of the individual tuition process. The amount of individual tuition that a child needs varies from individual to individual and will be dependent on factors such as your child s prior knowledge of Hebrew and your ability to help with the learning. Our tutors are experienced to be able to make accurate recommendations but if you are concerned and want further advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the rabbis. In addition, Judi Herman offers on a voluntary basis help with English reading and presentation skills. If you think your child would benefit from this, please contact her at or General Expectations Additional Notes Bar/Bat Mitzvah is not a one-day event but a journey. We therefore have certain expectations of the child: Regular attendance at cheder during year 7 and 8. Commitment to learn the minimum required and aim to learn more. Joining the Kabbalat Torah programme post Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The family is an important participant in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah journey and we also have a number of expectations of the family as a whole: Attendance at family study mornings. Regular attendance of the whole family at services. Parent support and encouragement for the child s learning. Parents participation in the Kiddush rota for BM mornings to offer mutual support to the other families in the cohort. 7

8 What the Bar/Bat Mitzvah students need to learn The Tallit blessing in Hebrew. The blessings before and after the reading of the Torah in Hebrew (sung or read). To read or chant their portion from the Torah in Hebrew. To understand and be able to explain their portion to the congregation via a D var Torah. The blessings before and after the reading of the Haftorah in Hebrew (sung or read). To read the Haftorah in English. What is desirable for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to learn To sing/read the Shema and Amidah (in Hebrew) and know the basic ideas contained in those prayers. To understand the Ten Commandments in English. To recite the blessing for Shabbat candles, Kiddush wine and Challah/Hamotzi in Hebrew and have an awareness of the grace after meals and Havdallah. The Shabbat of their Bar/Bat Mitzvah On the Friday evening: The Bar/Bat Mitzvah may wish to lead part of the Friday night service. On the Saturday morning: Family members receive mitzvot. Read a special prayer for the occasion of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Recite the blessings before and after the Torah reading. Read or chant and translate a portion from the Torah. Give a D var Torah an explanation of the Torah portion. Recite the blessings before and after the Haftorah reading. Read the Haftorah in English. 8

9 Tallit and Kippah The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is actually the first opportunity for a Jew to wear a tallit (prayer shawl) and so it is a significant part of the ceremony and ritual of the occasion. As an egalitarian community, we encourage both boys and girls to wear a tallit and kippah for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah when they will be reading from the Torah and indeed at Shabbat morning services thereafter! Students with special educational needs We are aware that some children in the community may not be able to fulfil the general requirements due to their special educational needs. Please speak to the rabbis if you feel that your child may need special support. We are committed to enabling all children to have a meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Rehearsals These will usually take place in the week immediately prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. If you would like to take any photographs/video (including bringing in a professional) this is a perfect opportunity to do so as you cannot take any images during the services. Mitzvot during the service Families are allocated a number of mitzvot by the rabbis so that they can invite close relatives to participate in the service. You will get more information about this from the officiating rabbis at the first meeting. Please note that every Shabbat service is shared with the rest of the congregation and so some Mitzvot may be reserved for those members of the congregation who have a Yahrzeit (anniversary of a loved one s death) or are celebrating a happy occasion. While we want your child to feel like the star of the day, there may be other celebrations on the day of your child s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, such as a baby blessing or an aufruf (for couples before their wedding). Music during the service For Bar/Bat Mitzvah s we normally arrange for the choir to sing. On rare occasions the choir may not be available but we will always ensure that the service includes beautiful music. If your child is particularly musical, you may want to discuss with the rabbis how they could contribute their musical talents to the service. 9

10 Filming & Photography The family can make private arrangements for the Shabbat service to be filmed using a stationary camera on the balcony. Photography or other videography is not permitted during the service. All services at NPLS are also streamed live on the internet and a recording of the streamed service can be obtained on DVD for a donation. The link can be found on our website Kiddush To celebrate the joyous occasion, we encourage Bar/Bat Mitzvah families to arrange a Kiddush for the congregation. Sue Wayne can provide you with guidance help you with the arrangements. She will also need to know how many guests you are expecting to ensure that we can set up the sanctuary accordingly. Charges The charge for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at NPLS in the academic year was 220 in addition to the regular cheder fee. The charge will be reviewed for the following academic year. Invoices will typically be issued 2 months before the date of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. If you have any concerns about charges, please speak to Rabbi Aaron or Rabbi Lea. Hall Hire We hope that you will consider hiring the Synagogue s facilities for your family celebration. If so, please contact Sue Wayne for Community Centre Lettings on or 10

11 Bar/Bat Mitzvah Timeline 24 months Make sure to enrol in cheder In school year 6 Attend the BM Induction 12 months First meeting with Rabbi to discuss the BM journey 9 months Begin BM tuition 7 months Ring NPLS to make a date for progress check with officiating Rabbi [for 6 months before BM] 6 months Start discussing the contents of your portion with your tutor to begin the process of writing your D var Torah 6 months Second meeting with Rabbi 4 months Contact Sue Wayne in the office to discuss BM logistics such as arranging the Kiddush, etc. 4 months Ring NPLS to make a date for progress check with officiating Rabbi [for 3 months before BM] 3 months Progress check with officiating Rabbi: bring your Siddur and Torah portion; confirm date for rehearsal and make a date for final check with officiating Rabbi [for 4 weeks before BM] 2 months Look at Torah portion in scroll with tutor. You should be receiving an invoice for the BBM charge. 4 weeks Final check with officiating Rabbi: bring Siddur, Torah portion & draft of D var Torah 3 weeks All of the following should be completed so that the last 3 weeks can be spent polishing, so practice: reading D var Torah, Torah and Haftorah blessings, Torah portion and Haftarah and reading the Bar/Bat Mitzvah prayer 3-2 weeks Make sure that you ve had a practice with your tutor on the Bimah 1 week Rehearsal: bring Siddur, Tallit, Torah portion & D var Torah 11

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